Does the Bible promote slavery?

QUESTION:
How can you follow the Bible when it endorses slavery? See 1 Peter 2:18.

ANSWER:
Some have wrongly assumed the Bible endorses slavery because of verses like 1 Peter 2:18. Even pro-slavery forces in early America used the Bible to justify this wicked practice but that is because they didn’t read far enough.

1 Peter 2:18 – Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, …
Notice this passage is not endorsing slavery, it is simply acknowledging the fact the throughout history, today included, there will be people caught in the evil of slavery. This passage addresses that person telling them how to conduct themselves in that situation. There is a vast difference between acknowledging that something exists, helping someone do right when in the situation and endorsing the situation. The Bible just recognizes that man’s heart is filled with sin and slavery will be a result of his selfishness and cruelty. The Bible also tells Christians how to respond when persecuted or attacked but no one would say it is endorsing persecution of Christians.

Furthermore, the type of slavery practiced in early America where Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves to slave traders was clearly forbidden and punished by death. Obviously this is an abhorrent practice to God and anyone truly familiar with Scripture would never use it to justify the Afro-American slave trade system.

Exodus 21:16
Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death.

In the New Testament the Bible condemns those who would traffic in the lives of human beings comparing them to adulterers and perverts.

1 Timothy 1:9-10
We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers — and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.

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